South Asia Center Director Shuja Nawaz is quoted by VICE News on the recent spike in charges of blasphemy in Pakistan and how those accused are facing persecution and intimidation:
“Extremist groups are trying to build their base among the disaffected youth,” Shuja Nawaz, director of the South Asia Center at the Atlantic Council, told VICE News. He noted that blasphemy cases are often used to highlight threats against Islam, and said that they have proved successful in both recruiting and fundraising.
Nawaz said that Pakistan’s government needs to reform and reshape blasphemy laws in order to rectify the situation, but it has been slow to do so. He wants to see the laws clarified and legislation passed that would criminalize false accusations. But the likelihood of swift action is slim.
“In the face of economic and security issues, it will be hard to tackle this issue in the short run,” Nawaz said. “This is going to be an uphill battle.”